It’s time to play Keep It or Kill It, a column devoted to divulging whether a somewhat obscure movie is worth a watch or a skip. You’re a busy person – you don’t want to be stuck watching a horror movie that isn’t worth your time. Here’ the pros and cons to the 1983 flick Mausoleum.
- KEEP IT! Mausoleum‘s got a sweet poster.
Even though the tagline isn’t as creative as it probably could be, there’s still this awesome skeleton holding onto the mausoleum to look at. Trails of mist snake from the open door, and the path falls off into nothingness. The colors are an eerie smear of toxic sludge.
- KILL IT! Too bad the film isn’t set in the mausoleum.
That sweet mausoleum on the poster is nothing like the set in the film. Only a few moments are actually filmed in the cemetery; the rest take place in an expansive but boring mansion.
- KEEP IT! The film stars Bobbie Bresee.
In case you didn’t know, Bobbie Bresee was in Playboy. She was also in Ghoulies and Evil Spawn. She spends half of her screentime fully nude. The other half, she’s wearing shirts that can barely contain her boobs. This makes her an “interesting” heroine/villain.
- KILL IT! She’s a terrible actress.
Normally, if you’re in a movie just to flash some skin, you don’t have to be good at the more important aspects of acting, like dialogue. But since Bresee is the focal point of Mausoleum, there’s a little more expected from her. She’s supposed to be a demon, but all of her snarling is so wooden that you could whittle a Boy Scout boxcar from it.
- KILL IT! The story don’t make much sense.
Susan finds the titular mausoleum after her mother’s funeral. She removes a crown of thorns from the demon’s head, releasing it to possess her body. Only years later does anything actually manifest from this occurrence; by that time, she’s already married and has a super stereotypical housekeeping staff including Angry Black Lady and Strange Mexican Gardener.
The demon’s name is Nomed – for those of you who have difficulty spelling, that’s “demon” backwards – and it seems to want to have sex with men and then kill them for no reason. Telekinesis is also one of its powers, although it doesn’t seem to want to use them in key situations.Plus the “crown of thorns” bit that the narrative tries to throw at us doesn’t work very well. Once Dr. Simon places the crown of thorns on Susan’s head, she miraculously returns to normal. Yet the demon still lives – sort of – and now it’s up to Susan to send it back to the grave. Huh?
- KILL IT! Cover up your equipment!To be fair, Mausoleum is cheesy right from the start. But when you can also see how the special effects are done because of bad editing, it’s pretty unforgivable. In a scene where Susan levitates a woman over a stair railing, the mechanism lifting her can clearly be seen on the roof. Later, it seems director Michael Dugan learns his lesson, because a similar scene remains equipment-free. Still, leaving something so egregious in the final cut is kind of like walking into a dinner party with your zipper undone.
- YOU DECIDE! There’s a pretty sweet dance scene.
I’m not sure how you feel about dance scenes, Mausoleum‘s got one. It’s only a quick sequence in a confusingly swank and skanky bar, but it gives both Bresee and her costar Marjoe Gortner a chance to shake their stuff on the dance floor – at least until some big drunk dude gets blown up in his car.
- KILL IT! Even this guy doesn’t get Mausoleum.
I’m not sure what this final shot means – Mausoleum makes it seem like this is some revelation for the entire film, as though it clears up all of the mysteries about demons and possession and why Mausoleum sucks. But apparently, this guy, the stereotypical Strange Mexican Gardener, has no idea what he’s doing in this film either, as this gesture kind of sums up all of my thoughts about the film too. Take
it away, sir!